- 3 Things You Didn't Know About Health Care
Just in time for Health Literacy Month
For nearly 20 years, October has been recognized as Health Literacy Month. Sesame is joining health care organizations across the world to help raise awareness about health literacy and the importance of making health care accessible to all. As the Health Resources and Human Services Administration (HRSA) defines it, “Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Health literacy is important because it helps people get the health care they need.
Sesame believes in making health care available to everyone. Part of this commitment means making health information easily accessible and easy to understand. It’s important to us that people don’t just understand health care; they know how to use it. To celebrate Health Literacy Month, we wanted to share 3 facts you didn’t know about health care (and what Sesame is doing to make it better).
1) Health care spending has nearly quadrupled since 1980.
According to the Brookings Institute, spending on health care in the United States has risen from $2,900 per person (1980) to $11,200 per person (2018). That’s a 290% increase in spending per person.
This steady rise in spending coincides with the general aging of the U.S. population. Baby Boomers are the second largest age demographic in the United States. Members of this generation are now between the ages of 65 and 76, which makes it the second most expensive age range in terms of health care costs. According to research provided by The Hamilton Project, people between the ages of 65 and 84 spend $18,100 per capita on health care – only topped by the $35,000 per capita in adults older than 85.
The aging of the general population is one factor behind the rise in health care payments. An increase in chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes also plays a role in increased spending. Here at Sesame, we are trying to buck the trend of these rising costs by offering affordable prices on direct-to-patient care. On our booking platform, you can find wallet-friendly video and in-person appointments for a wide range of health conditions. We’ve also detailed some ways that you can cut down on your health care costs, when appropriate. Check out our blog for some helpful health care tips and ways to save money.
2) Health care prices can vary wildly across the country
There is no fixed market price for health care services such as doctor’s appointments and lab tests. In fact, certain types of tests and services can vary in price within the same city. For example, based on our own data, an MRI without contrast costs $600 in San Francisco, CA, but only $277 in Los Angeles.
Unlike nearly every other type of market, consumers do not necessarily seek out the best or lowest price for service. There are a number of reasons for this, but the variation of price within a given state or city can make it difficult to know what to look for when you’re shopping for care.
Sesame is here to help. All prices found on our booking platform are upfront and affordable. Using the example above, the national average for MRI prices with contrast is about $11,800. That same service on Sesame costs – on average – $858. We recommend that you shop around for the best price on your health care, instead of just booking an appointment with the first clinic you come across. Doing price comparisons and researching the average cost of a service in your area can help you save money and find the best care for your price range.
3) The United States pays more for health care services than any other advanced economy in the world.
As detailed by Harvard Magazine and the Brookings Institute, health care costs more in the United States than in any other advanced economy in the world. We pay considerably more for routine health care (such as primary care, diagnostic tests and prescription drugs) than citizens of countries such as the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Holland. Additionally, outpatient and in-patient procedures all cost more in the United States than in the countries listed above.
Price-gouging, administration costs and an increased use of medical services all play a part of this elevated cost. However valid these reasons may be, here at Sesame, we believe that the time has come to change things. Our prices are significantly lower than national averages, across all different types of care. We also offer affordable medication prescriptions, delivery and refills through convenient video visits.
It is a fundamental part of our mission to provide high-quality health care at affordable prices to everyone – with no insurance required. We acknowledge that major, structural changes need to be made to change the accessibility of care, but we are working hard to help make those changes. We are joining organizations across the world this month to help you better understand your care and the costs associated with it. Looking for more information? Book a convenient video visit with one of our hundreds of providers or check out our blog for helpful tips and literature about health care.